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i think it's hard not to have loved tammy. full of energy. i turn on the news and saw there was a double murder. i was shocked. >> i think i killed him. >> killing so brutal in this peaceful place with a friendly couple next door. >> it was unbelievable. it's still unbelievable. >> they said it was a robbery gone wrong but that's just the beginning? >> things just didn't add up. >> it was one lie after another. >> a husband, a wife and their friend, but it was not what you think. in this case nothing was. not the marriage and not the
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murders. >> just kept getting more red flags come up. >> a double life. a cold and devious plan. >> that was somebody who was nervously awaiting the fall guy. >> what happened that day? >> i called the sheriff's department. >> and what did he say. >> that he did it. >> mystery at ascot estates. also tonight -- >> they were a young couple going out on the town and were murdered for mo reason. >> for his enlife life he believed in the shame that his father was the killer. >> we couldn't walk out of the house without someone in our face -- >> your dad's a murderer. >> and he no reason to doubt it. after all, it was his mother who turned him in. but hidden in the shadows after i famili a family's shame, the secrets emerged. >> i find myself disturbed. >> i'm thinking there's something wrong here. >> he wasn't the only one who
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thought so. >> he said, there's no easy way to tell you this. >> three lives were about to change forever. >> what about your mother? >> exactly. >> i'm lester holt and this is "dateline." here's keith morrison with "secrets in the desert." >> what a strange place is the past. it doesn't exist anymore beyond where it's put us and the fading memories. and yet how that poisoned hand can reach up through the dark and torture basements of half forgotten years. >> i've heard a lot of stories from both sides. >> this is ron macumber. if anyone should know about this particular past, it is he, yet how he could he know who betrayed his trust, his father, his mother, which one? >> i don't now what's true, what's not true. i don't know who told what. >> neither did katie or the
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young lawyer at the arizona justice project who opened the musty file and looked inside. >> we don't want to close this case because it's always haunted us. >> of course, it has. even though it happened long before she was born. how long? 50 years. phoenix wasn't the sprawling very modern city we know today. back then lots of open deserts, dirt paths dotted with cactus, framed by red mountain peaks. oh, and, of course, there were those outrageous tales. one evening in the warm spring of 1962, a young phoenix couple took a ride out to the desert. >> this was two young people who were engaged to be married. >> tim mckillop and joyce sterrenberg freshly scrubbed, just 20 years old, met at the phone company. that's where they worked. >> these two people were
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upstanding citizens. they both had jobs. they both came from very good families. >> yes, and then it was may 23rd. tim and joyce had dinner with her parents and drove off in a '59 chevy, not unlike this one and stopped for a milk shake and tim veered off the road at lover's lane and do what people do in such place. >> they were ray young couple going out for a night on the town and to be with one another. >> it was early next morning when a school bus passed by, and the kids yelled at the bus driver to stop, here just off the dirt road was the '59 impala and lying in the dust nearby were tim and joyce, both dead. >> the boy's body was found closer to the vehicle, and the female was found a little bit farther away like she had tried to escape. >> uh-huh. both shot? >> both shot twice in the head.
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>> to say it was shocking in the phoenix of '62 just didn't happen. >> it was a huge story, they were killed for no reason. it was a senseless murder. in fact, this looked almost like an execution. except as maricopa sheriff's officers discovered whoever did it wasn't careful. there was evidence. >> there were four shell casings found at the crime scene. there was a wallet found close to the body of timothy mckillop. there was nothing stolen from the wallet as far as we knew. there was human hair found at the crime scene and the human hair was collected, and it was impounded. >> the captain in charge took pictures of the crime scene and then had the impala towed downtown. there was a lot of scuttlebutt going on in the sheriff's office that we had a major case and
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that was, you know, everybody was wondering what's happening. >> jerry is now a renown nature photographer, but 50 years ago he was a sheriff's deputy, a fingerprint specialist. he took charge of the impala. >> i began to examine the vehicle, starting at the driver's door and my procedure was to first dust the print, and if it looked like it was anywhere near usable, i would photograph it right where it is. >> the photograph, then lifted 15 prints. his next job was to try to match those to the people who had most likely touched the car starting with tim mckillop and joyce sterrenberg. >> a young couple brutally murder murdered and you're holding the hands of these individuals to obtain fingerprints. that in itself was indelible in my mind. >> three fingerprints on the car
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could not be identified. they were sent off to the fbi for analysis. but jacka held on to a fourth print, print number one, taken from the chrome strip on the driver's door. >> it was a confusing image. it looked like a palm print and yet it could have been an overlay of a fingerprint on a palm print. but it was not sent to the fbi because it was just be almost a waste of time because they didn't keep palm prints as such on file. >> the three fingerprints couldn't be matched to anything in the fbi's files. the shell casings weren't much help either. dozens of guns were confiscated and test-fired but none match the 45 caliber casings found at the scene. >> they had hundreds of leads and they pursued hundreds of leads. there were just tons of people calling in with information that they thought was important.
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>> but nothing came of any of it. yet, even as the investigation stalled, the public's appetite for news about the double murder nobody could figure out was insatiable. >> nobody could make sense of it. >> was there any sign the woman had been sexually assaulted or anything? >> no, no signs of sexual assault, so that was not a motive. >> weird. >> very strange. >> that somebody had just, well, thrill-killed them or something. >> sure, that's what it seemed like. >> the mckillops and sterrenbergs buried the two together. felt like they would have wanted it that way. tail fins shrank and then vanished and years later even a small boy named ron could tell that a certain marriage had gone sour as marriages will, but this one, this one took justice in its poisonous grip until now.
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what does a bad marriage have to do with the murder of two young lovers? the mystery begins to unravel with a late night gunshot. >> there's no clue what was going on but i can remember that bullet hole. when i saw it the next morning. that book i sent? d yah, nice rainbow highlighter. you've got finch for math right? uh-uh. english? her. splanker, pretend we're not related. oh trust me, you don't want any of that. you got my map? yeah. where you can sit can define your entire year. and what's the most important thing to remember? no face to face contact until we're off of school property. you got this. sharing what you've learned. that's powerful. verizon. get the samsung galaxy s3 for $49.99. married to morty kaufman. [ lee ] now that i'm getting older some things are harder to do. this is not a safe thing to do. be careful babe. there should be some way to make it easier [ doorbell rings ] let's open it up and see what's cookin'. oh i like that.
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the years have not always because of the odd coincidence. that was the very same night or so she remembers that her bill encountered some trouble of his own while driving through another part of town. >> he came in the house, and he had blood all over him and he told me that there were some kids that were stopped by the side of the road, their car broken down. >> uh-huh.
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>> so he had stopped to help them. >> yes. >> and they jumped him. >> in those days bill worked at his dad's gas station. he remembers as a different night though around the time of the murders, it was, after all, a long time ago. he was checking under the hood of the kid's car, he said, when things turned ugly. >> just caught a little bit out of the corner of my eye when i turned around the second kid had a tire iron. well, i just -- one reaction was, bam, like that. my left hand, i caught him right there and then got in my truck and got the hell out of there. >> bill didn't report the incident to the police and carole kept the strange coincidence to herself but from that moment, the date of her husband's frightening roadside scuffle and the notorious des searle murders were somehow linked together and you're pretty sure it was that night. >> yeah. >> you're pretty sure that somehow they didn't get conflated and that maybe -- >> no. >> -- a week apart.
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>> like i say, the next day i remember reading it in the paper. >> maricopa county detectives worked the mckillop/sterrenberg murder case for months, but it went cold and stayed cold for years. bill and carole went on to raise three boys, ron, the youngest, remembers how involved his dad was. >> i can remember going out to the lake on the boat. i remember going out to the desert. he was my coach when i was racing bicycles. it was a good time. >> good times for ron. for carole, not so much. the young mother of three was feeling unfulfilled, stifled by her husband. what's your way of telling that story? >> i grew up. simple as that. he controlled me. he tried everything to control me. >> and here she was married for a decade, almost 30 years old.
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she wanted more out of life and so she got a job as a clerk working the night shift at the maricopa county sheriff's department. she took classes on police procedures including one on fingerprinting hope she might become a deputy herself one day. she started hanging out after hours with officers shooting pool, having a few beers. >> things just began to be obvious. >> too obvious how. was she seeing other guys? >> yeah, yeah, i didn't do anything about it. i came home one time and followed them one in the house. and he was a member of the police department. >> bill's story is that the final nail in the marriage was when he came home one day and found one of those police officers at home with you in the house. he said get out. >> what? >> yeah. >> that never happened. >> hm. >> that's a new one. nope. that never happened. >> accusations, denials, it was
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a classic and very angry he said/she said. by 1974 they were finished. carole left. bill kept the house and the boys. but if life had been a soap opera in the mckillacumber house dramatic outcome would come. that ramped up a month after they split when bill got a late night phone call. >> said, hello, there's nobody out here and, ping, a bullet comes flying through the require window then i grabbed the gun off the top of the hutch and ran out the back door through the storage room then i heard someone say, oh, no. and i know sure as i know my own flame that was carole in the alley. >> i can remember dad bursting into our bedroom and basically grabbing us all out of bed and putting us in the bathtub and said do not move until i come back and get you. had no clue what what happened. >> you must have been terrified. >> no clue what was going on but i can remember that bullet hole when i saw it the next morning.
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>> bill called the police who paid a visit to carole. not as a colleague, but as a suspect. >> i swear to you the first words out of my mouth were [ bleep ] did it himself. i mean there's just no doubt in my mind at all. >> they checked carole's gun. it did not match the bullet in bill's kitchen then out of the blue she told the detectives an incredible story. a few well chosen words and suddenly that long door perhaps case of the killing on lover's lane woke up. >> i said, oh, as by the way you might be interested in the fact that he told me he killed the two kids out in the desert, you know, 12 years ago. >> it was, as you might well imagine, quite the bombshell. 12 years after that famous and unsolved murder carole macumber told the police that bill actually confessed that he did it himself. they gave her a lie detector test in an effort to confirm her credibility.
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she passed. then the detectives called bill in for a talk. the accuser now the accused. they grilled him for hours and when they confronted him with carole's statement, said the officers, he finally broke down and admitted it, admitted telling carole that he killed the two kids in the desert. things moved quickly after that. they took your fingerprints -- >> and palm print. >> they took your palm prints also and they came back and said the palm print matched. >> they said they match. >> a palm print that matched the one found on joyce sterrenberg's impala and what sounded like a confession. a famous cold case had suddenly turned red hot. >> all i can remember is backing out of the car and someone came out of the door and said, carole, get the kids out of here, the print match. >> thus began for ron, a story
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that was kong fusing. they they arrested his dad and charged him with murder. coming up, bill macumber had some incredible charges of his own to make against the woman who accused him of murder. >> it was very easy to tell when my wife was lying. her lips moved. >> that's insane. but then look at the source. >> when "dateline" continues. ♪ ♪ i saw you messing around ♪ we were down when times were rough ♪ ♪ but was the light that you found ♪ ♪ on the other side enough? ♪ what did i do so... [ gasps ] front row?? ohh! okay, i'm jealous. [ male announcer ] at&t introduces the nokia lumia 1020. ♪ with brilliant zoom and 41 megapixels, you'll capture every detail. ♪ behaves like the surface of your skin. now watch what soap does to it. ♪ soap strips your skin.
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the '60s were a memory, and the '7 osby, halfway through for the lover's lane murder of tim mckillop and joyce sterrenberg. understand what was going on, but couldn't avoid it either. >> i remember the reporters being camped out in our front yard. we couldn't walk out of the house without someone in our face and questions and having to go out the back door and out the ailly to get to school. >> your dad's a murderer? >> yeah. >> the cold-blooded shooting that made headlines in 1962 was very big news again. >> there was no legitimate case for actual innocence. >> bill montgomery is the current maricopa county attorney. though he was barely in grade school when the office he heads prosecuted macumber almost 40 years ago. he read up on the state's case and found the hardest very compelling. and the weapon and the bullets.
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fbi ballistics testing matched bill macumber's gun to the 45 shell casings found at the scene. >> they were the primary piece. >> i would think so, yes. >> but bill's defense attorney was determined to tell a different story and came out swinging with a stunning never-before-seen piece of evidence. a statement from a then 17-year-old named linda primrose given to the police just a few months after the murders. she said she actually saw the murders happen with her own eyes. >> linda told the police that she was there. she told the police how they were killed. >> linda primrose took the police right to the crime scene and gave them a detailed account of what happened including details which had not been made public. >> and it matched what the police found. >> it matched what the police found. >> the primrose statement named the killer, a crazed and violent
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5'8" hispanic man named ernie. when she took the stand at the trial, linda primrose retracted her original statement, said it was nothing but lies. >> she told the jury that she remembers making those statements back in 1962 but that she lied. that those were false statements. >> the defense was stunned. but they came back with another bombshell that now became the heart of their case. they put bill on the stand. he insisted he never confessed to the crime and claimed that his ex-wife who worked in the sheriff's office at the time of his arrest tampered with the evidence. >> she had access to all of the evidence, the door was unlocked. shell casings there, fingerprint there is. >> back in 1976 carole took the stand and denied the allegation. >> it's insane.
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but then look at the source. >> when jerry jacka took the stand he agreed. >> my opinion is that my evidence, lift number one, as i testified to it in superior court on two occasions had not been tampered with. >> oh, and carole had plenty of motive, said bill. even though the judge wouldn't let the jury hear it, bill said it explained everything. carole he said wasn't just playing some divorce revenge game, no, by accusing him, she got her colleagues in the sheriff's office to stop pursuing her. for one thing remember carole was taken in for questioning alt that shooting incident at bill's house but there was something else too. >> just prior to my arrest, carole was brought in to the sheriff's department for derogation. >> bill claimed carole had been providing sexual favors to officers and recording those intimate moments.
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it was and remains a breathtaking accusation, one carole denies vehemently. were you having simultaneous affairs with police officers? >> no. >> were you making audio recordings or any kind of recordings? >> no, absolutely not. that's so ridiculous, it's beyond belief. >> ridiculous? well, yes, what she did was ridiculous, said bill but not beyond belief. carole was in trouble back then, he claimed. and by bringing her colleagues a prize, a man to charge in that famous murder case, she made her troubles go away. >> it was very easy to tell when my wife was lying. she -- her lips moved. >> it's typical bill. it's all this big conspiracy theory. >> who to believe, bill or carole? after deliberating for three days, the jury found bill macumber guilty on two counts of murder. he was sentenced to two
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consecutive life terms to ensure he would never see the outside of a prison again. young ron, anyone 9, was suddenly a fatherless child. >> he had been convicted. yeah, my father's a murderer and i want nothing to do with him. >> but one question lingered, why? and why someone like bill macumber always an upstanding guy, not so much at a parking ticket on his record? was he a secret evil guy underneath this good guy exterior? >> i don't know. hard-working decent guy who had a secret streak where he liked to go kill people? he wouldn't be the first and unfortunately i don't think he'll be the last. i don't presume to foe what goes on in the hearts of men, only the shadow knows. >> and ron macumber was just fine with the idea that he'd never see his father again. >> it's over and you're probably never going to see him or talk to him again. >> bill macumber failed to convince a jury and even his own son that he was innocent and a
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good man but he was determined to keep trying even if it took a lifetime. >> coming up, bill macumber's extraordinary life in prison and his son's growing suspicion that just maybe his father didn't belong there. >> there were things that were starting to bother me just a little bit. one of my thoughts was how stupid are you to hold on to a weapon for 12 years if you killed somebody? the secret is out. hydration is in. [ female announcer ] only aveeno daily moisturizing lotion
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the famous case of the murder on lover's lane was finally closed. justice diane or so it certainly seemed. it was 1976, carole took the kids to live in colorado where she found work as a sheriff's deputy. to help erase bill from their live, they all started using carole's maiden name. >> she did her best to take care of us. >> were you all pretty close. >> yes, very close. >> ron who was 9 back then lived in the shadow of his father's crime. >> i was ashamed. i didn't want anyone to know who my father was. new kid out of state, didn't
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know anybody. we even told people that he didn't live with us or that he was dead. >> but as the years went by, hard questions about his father still cluttered his mind. >> there were a few times that i thought about writing my father and never got the guts to do it. >> what would you have written to him? what would you have said. >> well, i don't know. i probably think one of the first questions, why did you do this to us? >> and bill macumber wasn't going anywhere. >> i think i pretty much gave up. >> did you get to see your boys? >> i saw them one time. >> he sent dozens of letters to his sons, he said -- >> the kids never got them. they never heard from me as far as they knew. >> and so bill slowly resigned himself to a life behind bars and the days piled up and turned into years. but during those year, a funny thing happened bill became a model inmate. so much so that other prisoners looked up to him. they gave him a nickname.
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pops. and bill began to see in the midst of his trouble opportunity like forming a chapter of the jc, the junior chamber of commerce in prison. jc's in the prison. >> yeah. >> who would have thought? >> yeah. >> young men's business group for heaven's sake. >> that's right. by the end of the year we had 65 members out of a population of 155. >> soon bill was organizing and leading the other prisoners through the jcs's set up prison classes for the inmate, taught them english, history, business skills and opened a snack bar and profits went to charities like the make-a-wish foundation and the special olympics. >> we ended up that year the most awarded chapter in the state. oh, civilian and prison. >> the former champion -- >> but bill didn't stop at just that. next he transformed the annual prison rodeo. once small and little known,
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into a renowned event that traveled the state and raised in its first year alone more than $70,000 for charity. >> i went to every rodeo in the state of arizona. >> by the way you heard him correctly, he was given permission time and again to leave the prison. sometimes for days. sometimes without an escort. >> i heard that you traveled outside of prison 190 times. >> 232 times. the most traveled inmate in the history of the prison system here. >> why didn't you run? >> never even entered my mind. >> and he wrote endlessly 24 novel, a book of poetry, eventually the news of his achievements trickled down to ron. >> my grandmother sent an article when he was doing. jaycees. >> was this the man his mother told him was nothing evil. >> i started getting interested in my father's case. i wanted to know more, who he
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had killed. why? i kept looking into it and reading articles. there were things that were starting to bother me a little bit. one of my thoughts is, how stupid are you to hold on to a weapon for 12 years if you've killed somebody. so it started brewing and brewing and brewing. >> and though he wasn't the only person whose interest was piqued by the stories about bill macumber. when larry hammond, one of arizona's best-known defense attorneys stopped by the prison one day, the warden insisted he meet bill. >> and he said, i think one of the people you need to talk to is pops. he was clearly a leader in that prison. he was the percentage who young inmates who wanted to do right relied on. >> and so many months later when hammond discovered some very disturbing things about the case, he decided to investigate. and word got to ron now in his 30s and a husband and father himself and his own interest
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already brewing started to really percolate. >> if it's an open and shut case like it was why is this guy a big name in arizona looking at this case? i just finally said, enough. i called larry hammond late june of 2002. he says, as long as there's no easy way to tell you this, we believe your father is innocent and we believe your mother framed him. >> coming up -- a father and son reunion. >> it came and took me two hours to open and first words were, son, i love you, your father is not a murderer. >> and the prison gates swing open only to slam shut again when "dateline" continues. [ female announcer ] you never know what messes you'll run into while dusting.
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ron macumber's world was upside down. how could this be, the father he believed was a double murderer was actually innocent? >> i'm in shock. flat out shock. >> but that's exactly what famed arizona defense attorney larry hammond believed so's centralabled team at his arizona
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justice project to look into it and they didn't have to look very far. their first big break was a phone call from a judge, wanting to talk about the decades-old case. >> he had never forgotten. >> not for a second. >> this is that judge now retired. his name is tom o'toole and the story he to tell was explosive. way back in 1967 o'toole was a public defender assigned to represent a particularly violent criminal named earnly valenzuela. >> when he started talking about his homicidal tendencies, you could just tell he was obsessed and it wasn't something that he was fabricating. he relished it. >> and then ernie told o'toole about a particular double murder he committed back in 1962. >> he went into enough detail that there was no doubt in my mind that these were the mckillop/sterrenberg murder. >> that's right. long before bill macumber was a suspect, someone else confessed
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to the murders of tim mckillop and joyce sterrenberg. so when you heard him say that in 1967, did you think, wow, that's it, solved the case? >> because of the attorney/client privilege. you cannot disclose it to anybody. >> o'toole was trapped. unable to say a word to law enforcement, but by the time bill macumber went to trial seven years later, ernie was dead. killed in a prison fight. by then he confessed again and again. it would be to six different people so o'toole came forward, asked to tell the story in court. but the trial judge ruled that ernie's confession was unreliable. o'toole wasn't allowed to testify. which meant the jury in bill's trial did not hear one word about ernie valenzuela. that troubled katie puzauskas. from the moment she joined the justice project team. >> when i started looking into the case for the first time, i became very disturbed.
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>> disturbed, not just by ernie valenzuela's confession but that it was a virtual match with a statement given by linda primrose, the woman who claimed back in 1962 that she witnessed the murder. >> when you look at those two pieces together, that's when it begins to make sense. >> a lot of sense said katie because the primrose statement checked out. she took the police to the exact location of the crime. she accurately described things that had not been made public. >> she said that there was a woman there by the name of terry and that when terry saw ernie shoot the couple she began pulling out her hair and there was human hair found at the crime scene. >> primrose said the killer's name was ernie and though she was off on the last name, her description of him was precise. >> she described him as being mexican. she gave accurate descriptions of his weight, his height, eye
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color, she said his hair was in a waterfall, a waterfall-looking hype hairdo. >> in the age of brush cuts this certainly stood out. linda primrose later disavowed her statement but katie thought the woman clearly knew things about the crime and the killer that only an actual eyewitness would know. the linda primrose/ernie valenzuela story was overwhelming. >> that was enough to convince prominent phoenix lawyers lee stein and jordan green to join the arizona justice project team. >> no jury ever heard the primrose story and the valenzuela story together and i think when you hear those two stories together, that's when you really come to the conclusion that this guy is innocent. >> to prove it the arizona justice project began a painstaking examination of all the evidence and discovered some of it was based as much on opinion as on science. >> the experts were permitted to testify that bill macumber's gun to the exclusion of any other
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weapon in the world is the gun that fired these rounds and there's no scientific basis for that. the government never kis clodis that the opinion given by the fbi agent that examined the shell casings at trial was not his opinion before trial. that was not disclosed to the defense. >> also, bill's palm print found on joyce sterrenberg's impala, that evidence you have evolved over time too said the justice department. >> at the time it was lifted, they don't know whether it's a fingerprint or a palm print. it was never sent to the fbi for comparison purposes, and it kind of just sits in the final and then 12 years later, when bill was arrested, they compare the print and all of a sudden it's a good print and it matches bill's. >> how could that have happened? bill claimed the prints suddenly matched his because his ex-wife carole switched it in the evidence file.
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after all, he said carole working in the sheriff's office had daily access to the evidence, had taken fingerprinting classes and even acknowledged practices on bill at home. though she could well have had his prints at the ready. >> i'm not saying carole did it. i know she had a motive to do it. i know she had the opportunity to do it. i know the story she told about bill's confession is nonsense. somebody else will have to figure it out. i can't come to an absolute conclusion other than ernie valenzuela killed these two people and linda primrose saw it happen. >> to say ron was astonished about the evidence would be an understatement. >> i don't know how much it sucked in the back of my mind thinking is he innocent? is he really innocent? >> if he's innocent, what about your mother? >> exactly so it's now like i'm juggling two worlds. >> it was a dangerous road he was on. but he knew he had to know everything.
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no matter what it might be. about his mother. >> now i find myself thinking there's something really wrong here. something seriously, seriously wrong. >> then he took a deep breath and wrote a letter to the man he'd been taught to hate. what did you say in that letter. >> i said as of right now i don't know if you're innocent or guilty, but i think it's time for the lines of communication to be open. >> guilty about that -- >> that 's exactly what i felt, betraying my mom. >> weeks went by and then a reply. >> it probably took me two hours to open and first words, son, i love you. your father is not a murderer. >> how long did it take before you realized that you were changing sides. >> it took a while. i mean, i can only go by my own experiences with the people that i've dealt with and have to decide for myself what is true and i'm angry now. >> it's just taken till now for someone to realize that this evidence is not right?
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>> finally convinced of his father's innocence ron decided to visit him in prison. a reunion more than 20 years in the making. >> i turned around and he came out the door, my first thought was, good god, he's tall and we just hugged. >> so ron embraced his father and stopped talking to his mother. a woman he now believed lied to him. who is the credible human being? who can we believe? why should we believe you and not bill? >> well, because i'm telling the truth. >> in 2009 after working for years, the arizona justice project had prepared its indication. but by that time bill had exhausted his appeals. his chances for freedom looked minuscule. but give up? not a chance. this time they went to the state clemency board with their evidence and the story of bill's amazing accomplishments in prison.
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bill macumber waited. so did the arizona justice project, so did bill's son, ron, for months. waited with hope for governor jan brewer to approve the clemency board's recommendation to set bill free. and then the answer came, the application for clemency for william macumber is denied. what was it like for to you get that news? >> brutal. just brutal. >> one of those kick in the guts things. >> it was devastating. we thought all our work, everything was over. >> and then it almost was. >> the warden called me and said you might want to get down here. he's very, very sick.
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i'm now panicked. >> bill had a blockage in his small intestine that had become hemorrhaging and doctors put him in a medically induced coma where he lingered. but just when he was about to give up hope he came out of it. so a last attempt, it was now or never, the arizona justice project decided to fight for a new trial. but county attorney bill montgomery wasn't buying it. you still felt that he was the guilty man. >> he was and he is, efforts to try to pin the murders on a different individual, efforts to try and insinuate if not outright claim that macumber, the convicted murderer was a victim of a frame-up and that his ex-wife was responsible for it. all of that had been argued before. >> i know. i didn't get to hear all the evidence. did they? >> well, they got to hear all the admissible evidence. >> but what about the ernie
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valenzuela confession? you look at these two guys. which one do you think committed the crime? the good guy or the bad guy. >> that's exactly what i'm not supposed to do as a prosecutor. i'm supposed to look at the evidence and make an objective decision about the case i had. >> but wait a minute. here's this woman that said, i was there. i saw it happen and then this valenzuela guy says, i did it. >> she says that earnly salazar was the one who was there. ernie salazar is not ernesto valenzuela. >> but if he had any indication of argue it in court he couldn't. that's because the evidence from the original case had been destroyed. what bill's appeals were exhausted. >> the county attorney ultimately was willing to sort of recognize the realities of the situation on both sides. his site and our side, and we were able to reach a resolution. >> but, of course, there was a catch. bill macumber would be freed, but only if he pleaded no
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contest to a charge of second degree murder. >> it was disappointing in a sense because he wasn't guilty and he couldn't admit guilt. >> after all, for decades he fought to lose the stigma of guilt. >> no contest, he does not plead guilty. he would have died in prison before he ever admitted to doing something he didn't do. >> but finally thoughts of family and freedom prevailed so just last year after 38 years behind bars, he took the deal. >> my father comes in, all shackled up, and one of the first things that happened was the judge orders the bailiff to remove all the shackles from him and if that is not symbolic, i don't know what that is. >> thank you, your honor. >> i got to be the first one to hug him. he's finally coming home. >> it was a day i thought we may never see and he walked out in a pair of jeans and an old western shirt which is exactly what he wanted to wear when he walked
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out of prison. >> how does freedom feel? >> nothing like it. nothing like it. >> what has ron's support meant to you. >> everything. everything. imvery proud of him. i love him with all my heart. he's his father's son, you know. >> not everyone was celebrating. some people liked the story just the way it was, like the families of tim mckillop and joyce sterrenberg. >> we know the man killed those two young people. to see this end the way it did in my opinion is pretty tragic. >> carole, as you can imagine did not like the way it turned out, not one bit. >> there was a killer, he is a double killer. i don't care if anybody else believes me, i know it. i have done all i can do to tell
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the truth and it'll just have to suffice. >> ron is using his father's name now. he's a macumber again. and he's still trying to sort out the mystery in his family. still struggling to forgive a parent, but this time it's his mother. >> i know what the truth is. she knows what the truth is. as much as i despise her for what she's done i do not hate my mother. i don't like who she is. i don't like what she's done. she's my mother and i love her. >> bill macumber spends his days simply now with family. he's taken up fishing with his brother bob. >> i never thought we were going to do this again. >> neither did i, robert. >> and ron is getting to know his dad. all over again. >> well, you take for granted all these firsts that i've been waiting for to now have him back in my life. no words for it. >> and now in our second hour of "dateline," another double
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murder. a mystery that rocked a graceful southern city. >> i was shocked. things just didn't add up. >> it was the last place you'd expect to find a gruesome crime scene, the quiet neighborhood, the lovely home, this friendly couple. >> i think it's hard not to have loved tammy. they were very happy. very happy. >> it seemed to be a simple case of a robbery gone horribly wrong. >> you realize that she was dead or dying. >> but nothing about this case was simple. not the marriage and not the murders. >> it just getting more red flags coming up. >> the surprises just kept on coming. >> he said, can i talk to you in private? >> what dark force claimed two lives? >> i feel like she's still there. i still feel her with me. >> here's andrea canning with mystery at ascot estates. >> life seems to move just a
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little slower in south carolina. afternoons in columbia can be spent on the meandering saluter river or nearby lake murray and tucked away inside this capital city is ascot estates where old southern charm mingles with new money. not much in the way of drama here. until april 2012, friday the 13th when something sinister happen happened. >> i immediately turned on the news and saw there was a double murder. >> totally confused because there is no way of knowing for sure what's going on. >> it was my husband who called me and said, something terrible had happened. and i said, what happened? >> what happened would become the center of a mystery, a whodunit that began with a frantic 911 call. >> who shot your wife? >> a friend of mine, bryan. >> is he still there? >> the call came from a most unusual place, the gracious home
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of well-liked husband and wife brett and tammy parker. the parkers were a golden couple. each with their own special gifts. tammy was raised in a small town near columbia but left to go into sales where she was immediately successful. best friend angela leon. >> i think it's hard not to have loved tammy. these vibrant and outgoing and full of life. full of energy. always positive. >> did she turn head. >> tammy was the kind of person she didn't notice she was turning heads. >> during one of tammy's sales calls 15 years ago she med columbia businessman ben staples. they became close friends. >> could tammy sell anything. >> she could sell anything. it's just her personality. everyone liked her. ♪ >> and tammy had something else that set her apart. talent. ♪ i was petrified >> i can't really exactly remember the first time i heard
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her sing but i was amazed at how great she was. ♪ so you're back >> tammy sang with a local band. jump-start. woody woodward was lead guitarist and one of her biggest fans. >> gifts, somebody gives you that from above. ♪ i will survive hey hey >> friends thought she could take her talent big time but tammy seemed happy to remain in columbia. one of her gigs was at her friend ben staples' annual barbecue. >> is this tammy's stage. >> yes, she enjoyed it. tammy was an entertainer. she just didn't stand up there and sing. >> along the way in 1996, tammy met and married a local boy, brett parker. a medical supply salesman. he had been a star athlete in high school. his aunt, sandra hunter says he was always throwing some kind of ball. >> he played football and softball and baseball and he was
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an all-american kid. >> an injury sidelined any thoughts of a career in professional sports so brett took up amateur softball. that's how he met one of his closest friends howdy bear. >> no doubt brett was one of the best softball players i ever played with. >> when tammy came into the picture bear knew his friend had found his match. >> tammy, she was just precious and i never forget that but i knew they was going to get married. it was just a matter of time. >> howdy and his wife tagged along to her singing gigs and saw a lucky man in love. >> they were fun to be around. no doubt in my mind he loved her. >> both tammy's friends and brett a family agreed. the couple just clicked. >> did they seem like a good fit. >> they seemed to do well together. they seemed to have some of the same, you know, dreams an ambition sdmrgs did you like tammy. >> oh, i loved her. >> they had two children born eight years apart and in the spring of 2012, the family in
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upstale ascot estates appeared to be living a charmed existence. then came the afternoon of april 13th and that call to 911. it was brett parker. >> get somebody over here. >> okay, i need you to stay on the phone with me, okay? >> tammy was dead and there was more. someone else laid dead in that house. it was a double murder, a cold-blooded crime that would look more chilling with each new detail. >> coming up,s who weigh was the other body found inside that house? police learned it was brett and tammy newell. >> one of the first questions i asked him what was this relationship with this man and he said can i talk to new private? >> when "mystery at ascot estates continues." . it's really bright. that what technology does. it makes things smart and bright. smart. smart. bright. this is a computer.
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this bucolic southern town suddenly the scene of a deadly crime. >> get somebody over here. >> i need you to stay on the phone with me, okay? >> home security video shows brett parker calling 911 outside his house collapsing on the ground as he describes what happened. a violent robbery that left his wife dead. >> listen to me, i understand
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you are very upset but is your wife, is she breathing? >> no. >> and there was more to the story. brett had killed the perpetrator in self-defense. >> i shot him. i think i killed him. >> veteran investigator stan smith headed to the scene. what was your first interaction with brett parker. >> he was sort of heavy breathing at one point in time he lays down on his back as if he's going to suffer almost pain. >> inside stan smith walked into a gruesome scene. the body was lying in the bathroom and bryan capnerhurst was dead in an al cove not far from the safe where the money was kept. >> seated at the desk in this office area and the shooter shot her from the back. half of her torso inside the bathroom and half her legs out in the office so she tried to flee.
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as far as bryan capnerhurst. he was found slumped over on his right side. he was shot multiple times in the face, in the chest, in the arm, in the side, in the legs, in the foot. >> the investigators were surprised when brett told them bryan capnerhurst, the man he had shot was a family friend and frequent visitor to the house. in fact, brett said he was in the bathroom when bryan arrived for a meeting and he told him to just go upstairs and wait. suddenly brett heard shots. >> he ran upstairs and was greeted at the top of the stairs by bryan capnerhurst holding a gun on him and ordering him to the safe in an alcove area in the attic. he saw his wife's legs and surmised that she had been shot. he was taken to this alp cove area and on the way he realized or recall that he had a gun hidden on the safe there in that area. and he said he made a decision as he knelt at gunpoint to grab the gun and try to get to
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capnerhurst before capnerhurst shot him basically. >> so he turned around and caught bryan off guard. >> that's the way he explained it. >> by shooting him. he ran and checked on his wife and realized that she was dead or dying and then he went and called 911. >> police recovered two guns from the scene. brett's 410 revolver, the gun he kept on his safe and used to shoot bryan. in bryan's hand police found a 9 millimeter pistol used to kill tammy. near bryan's body was his open gym bag with ammo and empty magazine clip clearly visible on top. to investigators it looked like brett parker had fought for his life, shot a man in self-defense and had just lost his beautiful wife. the big question was why? why would such a good friend turn on them? >> one of the first questions i asked him what was his relationship that this man -- he said, you know, can i talk to you in private and that's when
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he told me -- >> he worked as a full time medical salesman but on the side he had been a sports bookie for years. did it concern you? >> every small town has a bookie. that's something i didn't even think about. >> and brett was not the soprano's break your legs-style bookie. >> was brent a gentle bookie. >> oh, very, very, everybody says that he delivered his money, brett was good. he was a good bookie. >> brett also told investigators that bryan capnerhurst, the man he had just shot and killed was in the bookie business too. as a matter of fact, he worked for brett. bryan was also an unlikely bookie. a former high school athlete, he was a family man who worked for a county recreation commission and coached kids' sports teams. tammy had spoken kindly of him. >> i think she thought he was a guise guy. she must have shout a lot
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because he was in her home with her children. >> and he trusted her. >> yeah, tammy had always looked out for him. getting an extra lunch for him, taking care of him. >> but investigators found out there had been a problem in that bookie business and it all boiled down to money. brett owed bryan a good chunk of the profits, $20,000 and he'd been slow to pay up. >> bryan was going to go over there basically and tell, brett, look, i've had enough excuse, i want my money. >> smith learned that bryan capnerhurst had money problems, so it looked like he went to the parkers to demand money he was owed and take whatever else was in the safe. tammy had simply been in the wrong place at the wrong time. >> what do you miss most about tammy? >> her laugh, just her being. she'd always call. she always made sure we had our girls' nights out. we haven't done that since she was killed. >> it was all so sad.
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the parkers with their children, 5 and 13, had just returned from a family cruise, tan and smiling. a relative on that cruise told her aunt it had been by wonderful trip. >> she said that was the happiest that she had seen brett and tammy. >> and now brett's friend saw a man in pain after losing his wife. >> he just breaks down crying and he would cry all the time. >> as for shooting bryan howdy believe his friend did what he had to do. >> he had no choice. it was either, you know, him or bryan and that's the way he told us over and over, you know. >> to those grieving for tammy, it seemed that at least there had been some terrible justice for bryan. >> people that loved tammy so much, you know, you couldn't help but feel that he maybe -- maybe people thought he got what he deserved. >> investigators told reporters the tragic deaths were the result of a robbery gone bad.
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it seemed like a cut-and-dried case, but things aren't always what they seem. >> coming up, secrets and lies. investigators ask brett if he was unfaithful to tammy. >> a series of text messages that were with a young laid and they were definitely of a sexual nature. >> when "dateline" continues. co. [ man ] 10, 9, 8, 7... [ command center ] countdown ignition sequence started. [ man ] ...6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. cleared for takeoff. [ female announcer ] introducing swiffer steamboost powered by bissell. [ command center ] all systems go. [ female announcer ] steam-activated cleaning pads penetrate deep to remove dirt that mops can leave behind. [ command center ] we have lift off. [ female announcer ] don't just clean your floor...boost it... with new swiffer bissell steamboost. [ command center ] mission accomplished. a turtle. really? a turtle? yeah. and what about you? i'd rather be a slow turtle. wha...ummm... i know why!
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. police had announced the double murder in gracious ascot estates was a robbery gone very wrong. the unlikely intruder, the parkers' family friend bryan capnerhurst. brett parker told the investigators that his friend bryan had shot his wife tammy in a botched robbery attempt then brett in fear for his own life killed his friend. it looked like self-defense. but sheriff leon lott knew they couldn't close the case without thoroughly checking out brett's story. >> there's three people there. two of them are dead so we have to rely on him to explain to us what happened. so we were listening to everything that he was saying. and then we'd go back and check it. >> investigators went over brett's account starting with the moment bryan entered the house. before long, something unusual came to their attention. brett told police he was sitting on the downstairs toilet when he heard the shots ring out.
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but one of the female crime scene investigators noted this, the toilet seat was up. >> our lieutenant is a female and she made mention of that, that particularly bothered her. >> of course, it takes a woman to notice that. >> right. >> as they pored over crime scene photos another small but important detail jumped out, bryan's gym bag with ammunition and an empty magazine clip visible. >> those items were found on top of the clothing and other items in the bag. >> unusual because of what they noticed on the home security video that captured bryan arriving at the house. >> if you looked at the video, the way bryan nonchalantly through the bag over his shoulder you would feel like those items would have gone to the lowest point of the end of the bag so it was like they were almost placed there. >> there was more that didn't seem to quite add up. investigators took a hard look at the time line of the crime as brett described it. that home security video showed bryan arriving at brett's home
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at 12:31 p.m. brett called 911 to report having shot bryan at 12:42. >> what happened? who shot your wife? >> a friend of mine, bryan. >> police believe the confrontation should have only taken a couple minutes so why had brett taken nine more minutes to call. why with his wife shot inside brett came outside to make that call. >> if it would have been me i would have been inside trying to hold my wife, administer cpr to my wife and he didn't appear to have any blood on him at all. >> yeah, was that strange they didn't have blood on him? >> it was. >> investigators pick through every detail in brett's account and found that while he'd been up front about his illegal bookie business, he wasn't up front about everything. >> we covered certain things for brett like had he been involved in adulteress affairs? he told us no. the first 24 hours we found out
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that wasn't true and a series of text messages with a young lady of a sexual nature indicative of an affair. >> and they started looking at the evidence versus what he had said. and over a period of time, it just kept getting more red flags coming up. >> tammy's best friend, angela leon didn't know anything about the investigation. but she had a gut feeling something wasn't right and called up the sheriff's department to say she thought brett was lying. >> i reached out to them, wanted them to make sure there were people that had a different side of the story. >> brett continued to insist it was self-defense. but within a week of the shooting, he had gotten a lawyer, david fedor. >> the sheriff had told us he thought it was a little odd that brett retained a defense attorney so quickly when he was saying he was the victim. >> anybody in a situation like that that doesn't retain an attorney immediately needs psychiatric help. >> his attorney said brett was no killer.
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he was just defending himself after bryan showed up to steal his money. >> captain hurst went over there specifically to rob the people, tammy was there. he shot her first and we assumed he would shot brett and brett got the drop on him instead. >> what motive could he have to shoot her? >> the motive he would have to shoot her was getting the money out of the safe and have no witness. >> why carry out a burglary when you know the wife is home? >> your guess is as good as mine. >> i think some people just find that hard to believe. >> sure, they do. people find hard to believe that airplanes fly. but it happens. >> brett parker met directly with sheriff leon lieutenant ott. he even invited the sheriff to the house to show him the crime scene. >> he wanted to walk me through the house to demonstrate what had happened and after that meeting we sat at his kitchen table and at that point was the first time i told him i just didn't believe him. >> the sheriff was now convinced that brett was no victim.
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he was the mastermind of a cruel and highly unusual plot to kill his wife and frame a friend. >> he'd gotten away with his gambling for so many years. what else is he going to get away with? >> three months after the murders there was startling news. >> the richland county sheriff's department says parker is lying. >> brett parker was charged with two murders. >> why do you think it took so long? >> because they didn't have a case is what i find. >> as the case headed to trial, there were no witnesses. no video of the crime and little forensic evidence pointing to either brett or bryan as the real killer. >> it was a high-profile case, two killings in a small town. they wanted to make the most of it. >> coming up, the trial opens with a bombshell. not about him, but about her. >> how was the marriage? >> well, as the years went by she was unhappy.
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>> did your relationship become intimate? >> when "mystery at ascot estates continues." ♪ ♪ ♪ [ male announcer ] if you can't stand the heat, get off the test track. get the mercedes-benz you've been burning for at the summer event, going on now at your authorized mercedes-benz dealer. but hurry, offers end july 31st. your skin can grow more beautiful every time you wear it. neutrogena® healthy skin liquid makeup. 98% of women saw improvement in their skin.
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in august of 2012, columbia, south carolina, was reeling from the news that brett parker, the only survivor of a tragedy which left two people dead, had himself been charged as the cold-blooded killer who masterminded the whole plan. brett's family and friends believed he was a man wrongly accused. >> i just wanted them to know he was innocent. every time he said i am not -- i did not do it. >> even tammy's close friend, former band mate woody woodward had a hard time believing brett was guilty. >> had you no reason to doubt brett at that. >> i believed him. they called me to be a character witness and i told them i'd be glad to because i did not see him doing this.
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>> when the trial began in may, it was a courtroom divided. on one side brett's family and friends including his and tammy's teenage daughter. on the other side, friends and family of tammy and bryan sat together. they wore blue, tammy's favorite color as a show of unity against the man they believed murder the both victims. >> they were shot. >> in her opening statement, the prosecutor minced no words, brett parker had committed a terrible crime then elaborately covered it up. >> as you listen to the details of this case, you will be firmly convinced that it was brett parker who not only had the motive but actually did kill tammy parker. and then bryan capnerhurst. >> prosecutors wanted the jury to know that the parker marriage wasn't what it seemed. brett had strayed.
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once with an out of town woman and several times with a local bank teller. linsey mullins testified that they met, they texted and that he shared some confidences about his marriage. >> he said that he slept up juries sustain she slept down downstairs. >> but the parkers had more problems than just brett's affairs. they called ben staples to the fanned, a parker family friend. >> what do you think of the marriage? >> well, as the years went by, she was unhappy. she had conversations. we had conversations regarding religion. brett did not believe in god and going to church. that was important to her. >> then ben revealed another bit of evidence about the parkers' shaky marriage this, one a bomb bombshell. >> become intimate. >> yes. >> how many years ago was that. >> three years ago. >> did that end? >> it did. it did not end our friendship. we remained best friends until her murder.
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>> the public admission of the affair was a total shock. even to those closest to tammy. so this was a secret she kept from her girlfriend. >> we always felt like ben probably loved tammy because how could you not love tammy and we didn't know ben that well. so we didn't think that that had happened. >> lanny guptser an old friend and fellow bookie testified four months before the murders brett was talking about a separation. >> my advice to him if he wanted it was that being that it was coming up on the holidays for him to try to work it out with tammy and at least get through the holidays for the kids' sake and after the first of the year try to get together and if separating was the option so be it. >> a bad marriage is one thing, murder is another so prosecutors turned to a different motive, money. unbeknownst to tammy brett was in deep debt. he had made the biggest mistake a bookie can make, he gambled himself and brett wasn't too
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good at it. >> guenter told an investigator brett owed him big money. >> i told him about the debt that brett and i had -- his only count, the 100,000, the 101,000. >> and this was not the first time it had been a serious issue. >> it nearly caused divorce then. his father bailed him out, about 100 tu$,000. >> the state tried to convince the jury that killing tammy had been brett's way out of a shaky marriage and his gambling debt. tammy had taken out a life insurance policy. >> 868,000 was the ultimate amount. >> who was the beneficiary on that? >> brett. >> tammy also had close to $200,000 in a 401(k). combined with the insurance, nearly 1.1 million all left to brett. what kind of man sets up his friend to take the fall for murdering his wife and then he murders the friend and leaves him with the legacy of, you know, that he murdered somebody.
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>> he wanted to perpetuate this lifestyle. continue to many gale and enjoy the girlfriends and tammy was a hindrance to him. he felt like this was his way out. >> in court, the ugly accusations seemed to get to brett as the medical examiner testified about tammy's fatal injuries, brett said he felt ill and was rushed to the hospital. brett was back, however, the next day to hear the prosecution present evidence it said proved he planned the murders, framed his friend and then covered it up. here's how they said he did it. first, he shot and killed his wife in that upstairs office. then at 12:25 p.m., brett's own home security camera catches someone peering through the blinds. prosecutors believe it was brett waiting for bryan to arrive for a meeting brett himself had arranged. gunshot residue was found on those blinds, proof the state said that brett had already fired a gun before bryan even
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arrived. >> about 12:that who is that peeking out the blinds? that was somebody in our opinion who had just done this heinous thing and was nervously awaiting his patsy, his fall guy to show up. >> after killing bryan, his fall guy, prosecutors said brett staged the crime scene and planted that gym bag and ammunition. >> i guess the idea was that was supposed to be some kind of murder bag. >> and placed the gun he used to kill his wife in bryan's hand. there's no way bryan brought that gun to brett's house, a friend testified. >> did you know whether bryan had a gun? >> not -- no, but heck no he did not have a gun. brian was scared of guns. there is no way on this earth that bryan capnerhurst had a pistol. none. zero. it did not happen. >> and there was something else. >> that gunshot to the forearm -- >> bryan capnerhurst had suffered a major gunshot wound
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to his arm but he was still clutching the gun as he lay dead on the floor. a medical examiner testified it's unlikely the gun would have stayed in his hand. >> in my medical opinion, based on the shot to the arm -- to the forearm and falling over i believe that the gun fell out of his hand. >> the gun had been placed in his hand. >> the prosecution had made its case. now it was time for the defense top fight back. >> they had no proof whatsoever they shot his wife. it was completely circumstantial. >> the defense was about to tell the jury that bryan capnerhurst not brett parker was the real villain. >> coming up -- brett's team produces a powerful witness to back up his story. his teenage daughter. >> witnessed them talking, not lying about that i remember -- >> when "dateline" continues.
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you can't avoid him, but you can stop him from wasting 150 million pounds of paper every year. ask bill to go online. green bill is much cooler. the more you know. villain. brett parker had declared a resounding not guilty to the
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murder of his wife tammy and friend bryan capnerhurst. from the day it happened to this moment in court, he insisted that he was the innocent victim of a robbery gone bad. >> who shot your wife? >> my friend, bryan. >> is he still there. >> i shot him. i think i killed him. >> defense attorney david fedor said the accusation that brett plotted to kill his wife and then framed his friend was too far-fetched to believe. >> i think brett is a fine young man. 'not a genius. it would have taken an einstein to set this thing up. >> would it tack a genius, though, to concoct a plan like that. >> i think i'm fairly bright and i'll be damned if i could have thought it up. >> bryan capnerhurst fired that handgun. >> his attorney said bryan capnerhurst was a desperate man with far more motive for murder. >> a man at the end of his rope
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who had a desire for money and a plantar violence. and the evidence in this case is going to prove it. >> still, the defense thought it had an uphill battle. fedor knew it didn't help his case that his client was an unfaith ullr husband and gambler. >> they showed he was a bad man because he gambled. he had an affair. they said that was another thing that showed he was a murderer. it was just ludicrous. >> from the start, fedor and co-counsel mark whitlock wanted the jury to know, okay, sure, brett, a gambler himself was deep in debt, but he was in debt to an old friend he had known since he was 15. >> you weren't worried about that, were you. >> i never was worried about brett. >> as a matter of fact of fact, if he called you and said you were a problem you would have wiped the whole thing clean for him. >> we would have worked something out, sir. >> you never put any pressure on him or called him up and said i'm going to come get you. >> no, sir.
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>> that life insurance policy the prosecution suggested was a smoking gun, they testified he wasn't all that interested on an insurance policy for tammy. >> did you attempt to sell him an insurance policy on his wife tammy. >> yes. >> were you successful in selling him insurance to his wife. >> i was not. >> tammy had taken out the insurance on her own and instead of claiming a dime for himself, brett had already signed the insurance money over to his kids. >> did he tell you directly, mr. spell, that he wanted this money to go to the children? >> yes. >> and remember those downstairs blinds, the ones with the gunshot residue the prosecution said had been left by brett before bryan even arrived. >> proof that he killed tammy ahead of time and then looked through the blinds to see bryan coming. >> they stated that, but they didn't prove that. >> a defense expert suggestsed
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the fine particles had merely drifted to that blind even days later. >> if you have an air handling system like we have in most buildings and houses, over a period of time it will be sucked through the intakes and distributed fairly evenly through a place. >> and that curious matter of the toilet seat being up when logically it should have been down. >> and that's about as definitive? >> yes. >> objection, your honor. i move to have that stricken. >> when the prosecution tried to enter that as evidence in court, the defense successfully objected. his attorney told us it was just a family habit to leave the toilet seat up to make things easier for their young son. >> he has a 6-year-old child. every time the child comes in from school or anyplace else he runs to the bathroom right away. brett and his wife always put the seat up. >> he hears shots fired in his house and he's going to think about putting the toilet seat up?
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>> it's an automatic reaction if you do it every day. >> it was explainable behavior, the motive was flimsy said the defense. now it attacked the state's forensic evidence. the defense used the amount of gunshot residue found on brett's hands to undermine the theory that brett had shot his wife with one gun and his friend with another arguing there just wasn't enough gun residue on his hands to have fired both weapons. >> if he fired both the 9 millimeter and the 410 revolver in combination, i would expect his levels to be very high. >> all right. well, what did you find in this case? >> well, his levels are consistent with someone who has fired a firearm, certainly, but they're not extremely high. >> and the defense argued that bryan did have gunshot residue on his hands, proving he could have killed tammy. >> certainly that's not the only way in which gunshot residue can be had. but it is consistent with firing
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a gun. >> and there was the prosecution's theory that the gun in bryan's hand had been placed there after his death. that he could never have held on to it after being shot himself. the state claims that it would have been impossible for bryan to have that gun in his hand given that the severe injury that he sustained to his arm? >> that was hogwash. many, many people have a death grip. if you're shot and you've got something in your hand you squeeze it tighter. >> and the idea that bryan would never have had a gun, a friend of brett's, robert bauer says that's just not true. he wasn't asked to tell his story in court, but says that a month before the killings he was at the parker home and saw bryan handling one of brett's guns with ease. >> he took all the bullets out and handed the clip and handed me that and happened me a revolver which he took the bullets out with and i hear his friend said he would never touch a gun.
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>> brett told investigators he had given bryan that 9 millimeter handgun for protection and in a dramatic move, the defense brought in a witness to confirm that. brett and tammy's 14-year-old daughter brooke. >> bryan and my dad were discussing a gun that my dad had, and they were just talking about how they thought it was good for him to have safety at his house and to protect bryan's family. >> are you talking about mr. capnerhurst? >> yes, sir. >> having young brooke testify was controversial. but brett's aunt knew brooke believed her father was innocent and wanted to take the stand. >> she had some information that needed to be given and she did what she felt like she needed to do. >> she wanted the jury to hear her story. no matter how difficult it was to tell. >> witnessed them talking about
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how he was giving a gun to bryan and not lying about that. i was there and i remember. >> it was a tragedy that had stirred up the quiet waters of this carolina community and soon a jury would have to decide who was to blame. but before they did, the defense wanted them to hear from the only person alive who really knew what happened in the house that day. brett parker himself. >> never, i had never hurt tammy. never have. >> but would a jury believe him? the verdict when we come back. and coming up next friday on "dateline." >> my husband is laying here gasping for air. oh, my god. >> a fire chief murdered, his wife the only witness. >> she was crying and frantic. >> she started telling me about a young man coming into their home and shooting keith.
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>> she's the detective on her first whodunit and it's definitely bizarre. an intimate confession. >> she just openly told me, i had sex with a 29-year-old client. >> an intriguing discovery. >> as the chaim scene agent stated we found the gun in the dryer. >> and maybe the most revealing police interview yet. >> no, no, no don't pick it up. >> she tossed her top to me. she just whipped it off. i was shocked. >> her job unraveled. the small town mystery, but she'd also uncover the secret life of the fire chief's wife. young women are sacrificing so much today not giving a thought to their own satisfaction.
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what really happened inside that ascot estates home? in court, brett parker confid t confidently took the stand eager to tell his version of events. first he wanted to know his marriage was hardly the wreck the prosecution made it out to be. >> me and tammy got along fine. we put our kids before everything. i know that's why i could never go to her and ask for a separation. because it would just destroy our kids. >> and he explained his initial reticence to tem police about his affairs or reveal his own massive gambling debts had
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nothing to do with the murders. >> when they asked me about the affair and i admitted it to them the next day and as far as the gambling goes, if you know bookmakers it's not something you just talk about. >> then struggling to keep his emotions in check, he recounted the day of the shooting. >> bryan was standing there with the gun pointed at me. and told me to go -- go to the [ bleep ] safe and i walked up the steps and i mean i was -- i didn't know what was going on. i was panicked. i kept asking, why? what are you doing? and as we walked by the office, i could see -- i could see tammy's feet sticking out of the
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bathroom and then i knew something was wrong bad, that he had probably shot her. >> when you saw that did you have any fear in your mind at that time. >> yeah, i'm scared but when i got to that safe i made the decision right then it's going to be me or him. >> ultimately the defense wanted them to see while a flawed man brett parker was no killer. >> did you shoot in self-defense capnerhurst? >> yes, i did. >> did you ever have a plan, a premeditated plan to shoot and kill your wife? >> no. >> under cross-examination brett held firm. sticking to the story he first told investigators. >> did you think it was important to tell the police the truth? >> i did tell them the truth. i told them what happened in that house and that is the truth and i believe the evidence
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proves that. >> when think pressed him about his infidelities brett insisted his feelings for tammy never wavered. >> you testified you loved tammy. you still love her to this day. >> i will. >> despite their troubles brett said the love for tammy was ever there. >> that you would never do anything to hurt her. >> never hurt her. i would never hurt tammy. never have. >> it was time for closing arguments in the case of the people versus brett parker. >> i ask with all my heart and all the love and faith i have in our jury system to send brett back to his family, don't let this injustice continue. >> brett parker is no victim. he is a greedy, selfish entitled and while, yes, maybe even charming at times, manipulative killer.
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>> then the case was in the hands of the jury. what's the mod like? >> i told my wife, i said, if you're short, i said, i don't -- i won't feel good. unless they take a while. >> in just three hours, they were back in the divided courtroom, the families of tammy, bryan and brett prepared to hear brett's fate. >> as to the charge of the murder of tammy parker we the jury unanimously find the defendant guilty. as to the charge of the murder of bryan capnerhurst, we the jury unanimously find the defendant guilty. >> when you heard the word "guilty" what were you thinking, thank god. >> it's sad. it's not -- it's not the outcome any of us wanted. tammy is not back. now brooke has no father. but thank god he didn't get away with it. >> brett's sentence read immediately was life behind bars. >> oh, it just was like, darn,
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i've lost a friend, you know, i lost my best friend. it was very emotional. >> does that weigh heavy on you knowing he'll be behind bars for life. >> certainly it weighs heavily on me. i'm an irishman. everything weighs heavily on me but that especially because i defended many i thought were guilty this was one i thought was not guilty. >> tammy's friends keep her memory alive. in part through her music. ♪ not to fall apart i just feel my broken heart ♪ >> in the fall of 2012, ben staples held his annual barbecue as a tribute to tammy. >> will it ever be the same without her. >> we will continue but it obviously won't be the same without tammy. >> things are settling down again here in this quiet southern town.
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the healing has begun for the families and friends of both victims. >> i know tammy is in heaven. she was very strong in her convictions and she always said that. she always said that if i don't know about brett but i know i'll be in heaven. i feel like she's around. i feel her presence. i can hear her. she's still there. i still feel her with me. i still dream about her a lot. >> that's all for this edition of "dateline." we'll be back again next friday at 9:00, 8:00 central, and i'll see you tomorrow on "today kvitova. i'm lester hold, and for all of us at nbc news, good night. next at 11,a5 the medal of honorq going to a bay area hero. his father talks about his son's heroism.c or the wrought door events acro
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(0ryrjñ will not miss that that he's alive. ñjf highest honor. tonight you'll hear from his proud çófather. musiç,t baseball, and bikes. they all got together to help congest bay area highways tonight. p(]! the latest on what closed the bay bridge. but

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Dateline NBC
NBC July 26, 2013 9:00pm-11:01pm PDT

News/Business. Keith Morrison, Josh Mankiewicz, Hoda Kotb. (2013) Accusations made as a marriage falls apart lead cops to reopen a decade-old murder case. New. (CC) (Stereo)

TOPIC FREQUENCY Brett Parker 17, Bryan Capnerhurst 15, Joyce Sterrenberg 7, Bill Macumber 7, Ron 5, Fbi 5, Maricopa 4, Command Center 4, Neutrogena 4, Tim Mckillop 4, Ernie Valenzuela 4, Linda Primrose 4, Ernie 4, Tammy 3, Carole 3, Palm 3, Arizona 3, Heaven 3, Larry Hammond 3, Katie 3
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Duration 02:01:00
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Pixel width 1920
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